Sometimes we invent stories, often brilliant stories, to avoid something in our lives. To get on with what you should be doing, it helps to see these excuses for what they are, just stories.
One of my favorite forms of resistance is sitting down to write and suddenly getting an idea for another screenplay—a much better idea, an idea so unique, so original, so exciting, you wonder what you’re doing writing this screenplay. You really think about it. You may even get two or three “better” ideas. It happens quite often; it may be a great idea, but it’s still a form of resistance! If it’s really a good idea, it will keep. Simply write it up in a page or two, put it in a file marked “New Projects,” and file it away. If you decide to pursue this new idea and abandon the original project, you’ll discover the same thing happening; When you sit down to write, you’ll get another new idea, and so on and so on. It’s a form of resistance; a mind trip, a way of avoiding writing. We all do it. We’re masters at creating reasons and excuses not to write; it’s simply a barrier to the creative process. So, how do you deal with it? Simple. If you know it’s going to happen, simply acknowledge it when it does. When you’re cleaning the refrigerator, sharpening pencils, or eating, just know that’s what you’re doing: experiencing resistance! It’s no big thing. Don’t put yourself down, feel guilty, feel worthless, or punish yourself in any way. Just acknowledge the resistance—then move right through to the other side. Just don’t pretend it’s not happening. It is! Once you deal with your resistance, you’re ready to start writing.
Syd Field. Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting.
‘Since childhood you’ve heard, ‘Don’t believe everything you read.’ When we read about celebrities in the tabloids, we know that many of the stories are false or misleading. Some are exaggerated for effect, others are made up entirely. Now some celebrities take this in their stride; they accept it as part of being famous and don’t let it get to them. When they notice ridiculous stories about themselves, they just shrug it off. They certainly don’t waste their time reading, analysing and discussing them! Other celebrities, though, get very upset about these stories. They read them and dwell on them, rant and complain, and lodge lawsuits (which are stressful and eat up a lot of time, energy and money).
‘Defusion allows us to be like the first set of celebrities: the stories are there, but we don’t take them seriously. We don’t pay them much attention, and we certainly don’t waste our time and energy trying to fight them. In ACT we don’t try to change, avoid or get rid of the story. We know how ineffective that is. Instead we simply acknowledge: ‘This is a story.’
Russ Harris. The Happiness Trap: How to Stop Struggling, Start Living